Our Failsafe year in review and plans for 2015

I like to use the end of the year to look back and review what has worked in different areas of my life, and our food tolerance is one of these.

The biggest event of our year was welcoming our beautiful baby boy in February. From very early days, the first two-three weeks, I could see the impact of foods on his sleep and settling so we knew we had another ‘sensitive soul’ in our life. Thank goodness we have learned so much in the last few years and it was just a matter of putting in into practice and me returning to a strict low-chemical dairy-free, nut-free diet.

When I felt ready, the older kids challenged salicylates and glutamates. This was reasonably successful and they can now have small amounts of watermelon, apple, cucumber, carrot, pear with skin on and corn among other things. A dairy challenge was less successful and either caused or coincided with a bad cold, so we will re-challenge this soon. Amines are a bit hit-and-miss, so still fairly sensitive there. I have been able to cook and freeze some meals which would slightly increase amines e.g. Real Deli Chicken and Lasagne; in the past we have only frozen uncooked minute steaks, meatballs or small amounts of mince. We also got the dietitian to check their nutrition based on a food diary and blood test, which we hadn’t done for a couple of years, and they are doing really well overall.

I have been slowly increasing variety within the range of failsafe foods. I usually stick to foods that I know the kids will eat, but I do like to add new meals to the rotation and they now enjoy some meals where the foods mix together e.g. Irish Stew from The Failsafe Cookbook or mince with no-tomato sauce and no-cheese cause on top of the pasta. We now regularly eat a wider range of beans and lentils and have started adding different grains such as buckwheat, amaranth, millet and tapioca to foods such as muesli bars for the added nutrition and variety in texture and taste. This is still a work in progress as I think they are quite sensitive to wholegrains but much better than in the past.

In some ways, these gains are small but put together, I can see we are moving forwards. Best of all, I have a happy, healthy family and I know we are getting a good variety of healthy, additive-free, mostly minimally processed foods.

In 2015, I plan to continue increasing food variety within our tolerance levels. I am going to experiment with gluter-free grains and baking for variety and also to cater on special occasions for some dear friends who have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease.  I’d like to increase protein-based snacks or use meal leftovers for myself and the kids, to give us energy for an active lifestyle and reduce our reliance on carb-based snacks such as bread and baked goods. I’m keen to try some of the snack ideas from A Pinch of Smiles and a Dash of Happiness and Cooking for Oscar.

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